I woke up on Thanksgiving Day to some crusty warm popovers. Yummie. I appreciated them (and my wife!) a lot more this morning, as I just got back from London. Now, people like to poke fun of British cuisine, but for the most part I am quite happy there. For this trip I got too:
- Eat at three Indian restaurants (all good, but the fancy place wasn’t as good as the old fashioned curry house)
- Eat at La Porchetta, my favourite pizza place in the world
- Eat at a Nandos restaurant, which is a chain, but has spicy Peri-Peri which I enjoy
Lot’s of good stuff there, and I hope Ben appreciated the food compared with some of our other trips to Europe, which had him in horror mode.
My favourite meal of the day is breakfast. I have been spoiled by the american version too. Waffles, pancakes, french toast, crepes, decent bacon, eggs, hash browns, etc etc. The breakfast at our hotel (a nice one) was an awful euro-buffet. You are expected to double down on dodgy meat. In the end, I always end up going for the cereal and yoghurt.
To be fair, it is a touch better than Germany where the same meat comes out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
What else did I notice about my lovely home town this time around?
ITV Play. Really?
There is a TV show on ITV called Play (used to be a network but was caught cheating) which is so poor that it amazes me that it exists. I had to have Ben watch it too. The show has a random idiot thrown in front of a camera and babbles on trying to get someone to phone in (or text or play online) to answer a really silly wordplay puzzle. The answers always seem obvious, but then you see that there are actually 399999999 words that could fit in, or the answer they are looking for it insanely bizarre. Sometimes the same puzzle is on screen for an entire hour and the host resorts to true silliness to pass the time. Why does anyone watch this crap? If you win you also normally win a whopping 10p.
Mangos are juicy
A big deal was made about six months back when real Indian mangos were allowed back in the states after a long embargo. Finally, the juicy mango didn’t have to get smuggled in. In London, which also doubles as little india, we found out that mangos are very juicy. As Ben and I were walking down Upper Street in Islington, we got belted on our backs. We turned around to see 10 youngsters whipping fruit at us. We thought they would laugh and move on, but they kept going! Ben ended up returning fire, and then we luckily reached our destination so they couldn’t keep wailing on us. Lovely.
London is a good place to bring a jacket
Ben showed up in London without a jacket. He will tell you that “there is a story” but really. No jacket in London. It also didn’t help that it rained all but 2 hours of our entire trip. At least our arms could get a work out as they held up umbrellas. Man the weather was bad. I heard that it got really nice on Wednesday (after we left). Getting back to sunny and 65 degrees has been a real pleasure :)
I took Ben out of London to see more of England itself. A mate lives out in the boonies (Coggeshall, Essex) so we head there to do a traditional pub meal, and a little walk. Watching Ben freeze was a lot of fun. Looking at the prices of houses was also fun. “600 thousand pounds for this dump in a little village?”. Ben had a truly big grin though when my mates wife told him that the national health service was crap and that everyone is lazy and soaks money from the government. “Your little socialist bubble has been destroyed”, Ben said. I really hope that he watches Sicko (even taking it with a pinch of salt).
Expedia messed up names
I was sharing a taxi to the airport with Brendan Eich. He was staying in another hotel (which he chose as he wanted to be closer to the conference, but it turned out that it was further away :)) so I got the cab and went over there in the morning to pick him up. When I got there he wasn’t waiting in the lobby so I went in and asked the front desk to call his room. “I am sorry sir, no Brendan Eich here”. Hmm, maybe he has checked out? “I am sorry sir, no-one called Brendan Eich has stayed with us”. I started to sweat. Was he at another hotel? I tried to think if there was another hotel with a similar name. Nope. I cranked open the laptop and got his number up. I called it. No answer. Bugger. At some point I would have to choose to hit the airport! Then the good news, he called back: “Sorry, I am a bit late. I am in the lobby checking out”. I walked back over and sure enough he was doing just that. It turned out that the hotel had him down under his mothers name. I guess being CTO of Mozilla is a celebrity-like situation so he has to check in under fake names ;)
A beautiful city
I did really enjoy taking advantage of being right in the busy. Walking past the Abbey, parliament, the Thames, the eye, down to Holborn, over to SoHo, through Hyde/St James park, past Buckingham palace, and back home, was real fun. A great city. As long as you realize that the tube will be broken half the time.